Then/Now: The cast of 'The Facts of Life'

So how did Blair, Tootie and the other girls from Eastland Academy turn out?

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    First Season Cast

    First Season Cast "The Facts of Life" (1979-1988) was a spin-off from the ultimate sitcom of all time, "Diff'rent Strokes." Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae), a maid on "Diff'rent Strokes," becomes housemother in a boarding school dormitory at Eastland Academy for "The Facts of Life." There, she serves as a second mother to several high school aged girls. The first season featured a full house with seven girls, including a young Molly Ringwald.
    NBC
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    Early Season Cast

    Early Season Cast After the first season, producers cut four characters (which allowed Molly Ringwald to enjoy a successful film career) and focus on the lives of four friends, with tomboy Jo added. The girls included wealthy blonde Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), gossipy Tootie Ramsey (Kim Fields), overweight but confident Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn), and new wild girl Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon).
    NBC
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    Middle-Aged Facts of Life Cast

    Middle-Aged 'Facts of Life' Cast "The Facts of Life" was known for its focus on controversial issues of the day such as premarital sex, abortion, alcohol abuse, and drug use. In one memorable instance, actress Lisa Whelchel, a born-again Christian, refused to have her character lose her virginity. Instead, the issue went to Mindy Cohn as Natalie.
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    Later Season Cast

    Later Season Cast In the later seasons, the girls graduated from Eastland, and Mrs. Garrett left the series. She was replaced by her sister, Beverly Ann Stickle (Cloris Leachman). Then-unknown George Clooney even guest starred on the show.  Though several spin-offs were proposed, the show was cancelled in 1988, but lived on in 2001 with the prerequisite sitcom reunion movie.
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    Lisa Whelchel: Then

    Lisa Welchel: Then Lisa Whelchel, 16, played blonde rich girl, Blair Warner, dubbed Princess by her over-indulgent father. She was the pretty one on the show, often arguing with tomboy Jo. In the series finale, she saved Eastland from financial ruin and made it co-ed. Yay Blair!
    NBC
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    Lisa Whelchel: Now Lisa is a born-again Christian who recorded a Christian pop album in 1984. She has not appeared in many acting roles since her fame on the show (except the reunion movie). She spent years focusing on her three children, whom she home schooled.  But now you can look forward to seeing a lot more of Lisa, as she has signed on to compete in "Survivor: Philippines."  We totally see Blair winning.
    CBS
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    Lisa Whelchel: Now

    Lisa Welchel: Now Lisa is a born-again Christian who recorded a Christian pop album in 1984. She has not appeared in many acting roles since her fame on the show (except the reunion movie). She spent years focusing on her three children, whom she home schooled.  But now you can look forward to seeing a lot more of Lisa, as she has signed on to compete in "Survivor: Philippines."  We totally see Blair winning.
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    Kim Fields: Then

    Kim Fields: Then We are in trou-ble! Oh that Tootie with her catch phrase! Kim Fields starred as Tootie Ramsey, all-around gossip girl. On the show, she was known for her braces and roller-skates, which producers originally used to make the shrimpy Fields taller on screen.   
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    Kim Fields: Now

    Kim Fields: Now After her "Facts of Life" fame, Kim lost the braces and starred in another hit sitcom on FOX, "Living Single." Now in her 40s, Fields has recorded numerous rap and R&B songs, as well as directing several episodes of  "Kenan & Kel" for Nickelodeon. 
    AP
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    Nancy McKeon: Then

    Nancy McKeon: Then Joining the cast after the first season in 1980, Nancy McKeon, aged 14, played new girl and rough-around-the-edges tomboy, Jo Polniaczek. Jo was known for getting into mischief, as well as sparring with rich good girl, Blair Warner.
    NBC
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    Nancy McKeon: Now

    Nancy McKeon: Now No longer playing the tomboy with an attitude, McKeon has since appeared in several made-for-TV movies and the Lifetime police drama, "The Division."  She is married with two children. 
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    Mindy Cohn: Then

    Mindy Cohn: Then Who wants to be a skinny pencil? I would rather be a happy Magic Marker! Mindy Cohn, at age 13, starred as overweight but confident writer, Natalie Green. Natalie had a sharp wit, and was often the centerpiece of episodes dealing with serious issues like sexual assault and premarital sex.
    NBC
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    Mindy Cohn: Now

    Mindy Cohn: Now Mindy Cohn has since provided the cartoon voice of Velma on a new "Scooby-Doo," and starred on "The Help," a short-lived series for the WB and "Secret Life of the American Teenager."
    The WB
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    Molly Ringwald: Then

    Molly Ringwald: Then Who is that with the red hair bowl cut? None other than Molly Ringwald, who starred as brainy Molly Parker in the show's first season.
    NBC
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    Molly Ringwald: Now

    Molly Ringwald: Now Molly Ringwald was written off "The Facts of Life" after the first season but did not let that stop her from becoming a major star.  In the 80s, she was the center of director John Hughes' Brat Pack, starring in "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Sixteen Candles."   She has been married twice, and is back in the spotlight as a mom in the hit ABC Family show, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Molly is a mom? How do these things happen?
    AP
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    Charlotte Rae: Then Rae first played Edna Garrett first on "Diff'rent Strokes" before taking the character to "Facts of Life." Mrs. G was tough and fair as the girls' surrogate mother figure.
    NBC
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    Charlotte_Rae_now

    Charlotte Rae: Now After her run on 'Facts of Life,' Rae continued to pop up in guest spots on TV and in the movies. In 2009, she played the role of a woman who has an affair with Zohan in the Adam Sandler comedy "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." She was also diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that year when she had a voluntary screening due to the prevalence of the cancer in her family. Because of the early screening, she was successfully treated, and remains in remission. Good for you Mrs. G!
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